Super League: Catalans Dragons 38-18 Warrington Wolves

Todd Carney
Todd Carney was influential for Catalans on his Super League debut
Catalans Dragons (18) 38
Tries: Tonga, Oldfield 2, Duport, Taia 2 Goals: Dureau 7
Warrington Wolves (0) 18
Tries: Monaghan, Wheeler, Philbin Goals: O'Brien 3

Australian playmaker Todd Carney inspired Catalans Dragons to victory against Warrington Wolves, their second straight Super League win.

The first half set the platform for Catalans, with unanswered tries from Willie Tonga, Michael Oldfield and Vincent Duport building an 18-0 lead.

Joel Monaghan and Gary Wheeler scores brought the Wolves back into the match.

Zeb Taia's brace and Oldfield's second pulled Catalans clear, with a maiden first-grade try by Joe Philbin in vain.

Warrington ran St George-Illawarra close in their World Club Series fixture last weekend but their return to Super League and trip to Perpignan was chastening as their six-match winning run against the Catalans was ended.

The expectancy surrounding Carney's debut, his first rugby league appearance since his sacking by NRL side Cronulla Sharks in June 2014, was justified in the first period, as the Kangaroos Test stand-off was prominent in the Dragons' first-half dominance.

Todd Carney-watch
Todd Carney was the focus on his Super League debut and showed creativity and composure for the Dragons. He landed a 40-20 kick in the first half, stepping into dummy-half on tackle three, and was involved in Willie Tonga's try and both Zeb Taia scores. His break for Taia's second try in particular saw him dummy and scamper through a gap, before timing the pass perfectly.

It was another winter import, Tonga, who cut a great line to crash over on the left for the opening try after a slick move through hands.

Carney's fellow half-back Scott Dureau was the architect of try two, as he deceived the Warrington defence from dummy-half with a switch and the ball found its way to Oldfield on the right.

Chris Hill was held up for the visitors, but Monaghan's spill handed Catalans the position for their third before half-time, although the try owed much to Duport's pace and power down the left.

Wheeler's pass into touch on the cusp of the hooter summed up Warrington's error-strewn first period but two quick tries after half-time got them back in the game.

Ryan Atkins' break and flick pass put Monaghan in and Wheeler took advantage of a defensive mix-up after a ball spill to go in unopposed at the corner to reduce the arrears.

However, Catalans responded with two tries, the first built on an 80-metre break, and the second by Carney's creativity, with both finished by Taia.

Philbin's score, as he hit a line to crash through the Dragons defence, again raised the visitors' hopes but a towering Oldfield leap from Dureau's chip brought try six and the two points for Laurent Frayssinous' side.

Warrington coach Tony Smith: "It was a tough old game for us. We weren't quite at the races today.

"We got ourselves back to the races at one point and built some momentum, but that break away try swung it back enormously.

"All credit to the Catalans, but it is a day that we feel we'd like to improve on."

Catalans Dragons coach Laurent Frayssinous: "We are capable of doing some good things with the ball, and that will only improve as our combinations improve.

"Defensively, we are a much better team than we showed today. I want us to be consistent week in, week out - that is what I am interested in.

"There is still some room for improvement but I'm very happy with the win."

Catalans Dragons: Escare; Oldfield, Pomeroy, Tonga, Duport; Carney, Dureau; Anderson, Henderson, Lima, Taia, Whitehead, Mounis.

Replacements: Garcia, Bousquet, Maria, Baitieri.

Warrington: Russell; Monaghan, Bridge, Atkins, Penny; O'Brien, Wheeler; Hill, Clark, Sims, Currie, Laithwaite, Westwood.

Replacements: Harrison, Higham, Asotasi, Philbin.

Referee: Ben Thaler (RFL)

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